The IcePod Podcast
The IcePod
The IcePod
Episode Six – Measuring the Zeros - episode of The IcePod podcast

Episode Six – Measuring the Zeros

1 hour 31 minutes Posted Sep 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm.
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Show notes

For the sixth episode, the IcePod went overseas where we connected with Taneil Uttal in Boulder, Colorado. Taneil is a meteorologist at NOAA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To join the second leg of MOSAiC, Taneil didn't have to do anything but hire Matt Shupe – MOSAiC's co-lead – many years ago. How smart it sometimes can be to hire young people!

She and Anja Sommerfeld from the fifth episode of The IcePod were the female atmospheric force during the darkest hours of the MOSAiC sea-ice drift. As the leader of the Atmospheric Team, Taneil felt it was her main job to make everybody else's job easy. As she was standing on an ice floe in the middle of Arctic nowhere in darkness, hearing the same humming noise of the atmospheric surface flux station she once heard in hot-summer Colorado made her feel they had built a space shuttle that landed on another planet. Leg 2 being the only fully sun-free period of the expedition, it provided Taneil with the best opportunities to observe the most extreme conditions in the Arctic, and to measure all the 'zeros' during darkness.

Science makes just one (fulfilling) part of a scientist; there is more, and much more to Taneil. Spending the morning hours in Polarstern's red salon, Taneil volunteered for the leg 2 entry on the ship's guestbook – the whole lot of her impressions from the central Arctic she pieced together into a colourful vibrant drawing. If you're getting curious now (and you should!) check out the next PolarPredictNews newsletter.

As a senior scientist, Taneil is now very much looking forward to retire, "to be a scientist" as she says. For the remainder at NOAA, she aims to "make herself obsolete in order to build a team of people" that are going to continue her work.

If you miss the music, find the very special playlist that Taneil created on Spotify:

If you want to listen to the full episode with music, listen to Radio Weser.TV on the first Saturday each month 12–2 pm UTC at, or check back with us at [email protected]

For updates and other materials, check also our website:

Arctic Drift Audiologbuch (in German):

MOSAiC Mixdown: mini-podcasts from the Arctic by Sam Cornish

The IcePod is the podcast about polar science and the people. We’ll talk to scientists who went on board Polarstern, the German research icebreaker, for the biggest research expedition in the Arctic. The IcePod is the official podcast of the Year of Polar Prediction initiative to improve weather and sea-ice forecast in the Arctic and Antarctic. 

Editorial responsibility: Kirstin Werner and Sara Pasqualetto 

Music from

"Sweeter Vermouth" by Kevin MacLeod (

Licence: CC BY (

Photo credit: Michael Gallagher (NOAA)